Are you keeping an eye on your brand?
If not, you’re not alone—brand monitoring is one of the most overlooked aspects of digital marketing.
And it’s not just something we overlook. It’s something many of us actively avoid.
It seems much more difficult, and the potential results seem much less clear, when compared to the straightforward science of SEO.
So, we’re like a bunch of ostriches burying our heads in the sand. And this isn’t the healthiest approach to life, or our work online.
Here’s the thing: Brand monitoring doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming thanks to the automated tools on the market, and the results can be pretty powerful.
In fact, you can use it learn how people see you and how they see your competitors.
Nudge potential customers towards sales.
Uncover meaningful opportunities to improve your SEO.
Steer the online conversation about your brand.
Respond quickly to reviews of your products or services.
The best part is that there are so many brand monitoring tools to choose from—some focused on keeping tabs on social, others on media, others keep track of mentions, and still others that really do it all.
Here’s a look at six of your best monitoring options—free and premium—that can help you take control over your brand’s destiny.
So, What Should You Look For in a Tool?
Okay, so you’re probably on board with the whole idea of brand management tools, but don’t know where to start or why they should be a key part of your strategy.
A good tool—or combination of tools—should help you gain intel on your competitors, see what people are saying about your brand on social media and elsewhere online. You’ll also want something that can help you find opportunities to partner with others, whether that’s through backlinking or guest posting.
Brand monitoring tools make it easier for you to address consumer concerns, spot problems and bugs, and pinpoint your target audience.
Essentially, you get the insights needed to transform your marketing strategy, instead of throwing everything at the wall until it sticks.
The 6 Best Brand Monitoring Tools to Keep Tabs on Your Reputation
You probably already know Hootsuite.
It’s mainly used for scheduling social media posts and keeping tabs on your accounts, but the second part of its power lies in its ability to track social mentions across channels like Instagram, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.
Hootsuite’s pricing offers something for everyone. You can sign up for a free account which lets you feel your way around the tool and connect three profiles. It’s one of the few brand monitoring tools that automate some of the brand monitoring processes without charging a fee.
The professional account is $19 a month and allows you to connect 10 profiles. Still, if you want to add multiple users, a business plan (which covers five users and 50 profiles) will cost you $499 a month.
The platform is unique in that it offers social listening so that you can keep tabs on influencers, competitors, keywords and the latest industry news.
For example, the dashboard below allows you to connect your social profiles. I signed up and added Twitter, as you can see, and it displays any new followers.
You can also add metrics like retweets and mentions, and connect your choice of profiles—Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, whatever.
Backlink analysis is another area of digital marketing that people sometimes disregard. People focus on SEO keywords and building links, but fail to keep tabs on existing and competitor backlinks.
And while monitoring backlinks is a slightly different process than say, social listening, it provides similar insights.
Enter Monitor Backlinks. This is a tool used primarily for, well, monitoring backlinks. But, backlinks play a big role in reputation management. This affordable tool allows you to look at the anchor text people are using to look at your website, new backlinks, and uncovers who’s linking to your competitors.
Simply logging into your account and clicking the “Competitors” tab gives you a whole list of the links your rivals are bringing in, sorted by date.
Seeing where your biggest rivals are getting backlinks serves to uncover backlinking opportunities. For example, you can see which blogs are working with similar businesses and reach out to them on your own.
You’ll also be able to check your own backlink profile. The benefit here is, you’ll learn about broken links before website visitors do, and spot opportunities for new partnerships with those linking to your info.
Monitor Backlinks offers a relatively affordable solution, starting at $40 per month for the freelancer plan and capping out at $240 for agencies.
Mention covers the full scope of brand mentions on the general web and individual social media channels.
The tool was created for agencies and enterprise-level companies, and it’s evident as you start poking around the website. Mention provides in-depth brand intelligence—combining competitive analysis with crisis management, analytics and customizable reports.
Mention tracks brand mentions across all platforms and adds all relevant accounts to one central dashboard—so you can spy on competitors, discover new influencers and see who’s talking about you.
What I like about Mention is that the platform is relatively affordable. It provides essentially the same services as Hootsuite, but the way the information is presented feels a lot more organized.
Additionally, I appreciated how easy it was to view “influencer stats.” The platform ranks influencers on a scale from 0-100 and includes their reach, so you can see which players stand to help your brand the most.
A solo plan for individuals and small businesses will run you just $29 a month, so this is an excellent alternative to larger scale, enterprise brand monitoring tools that get really expensive.
Simply Measured is a social listening tool recently acquired by Sprout Social. This particular tool specializes in in-depth social listening, which can help you identify key themes in your space.
It spots trends and influencers, so you can keep things relevant. And while the platform is mostly built around social media marketing, it looks at your brand footprint outside of Insta, Facebook and the rest.
For example, Simply Measured integrates web analytics with social analytics, offering insights into how your social efforts actually impact your brand. Are they bringing more people to your website? How is Twitter affecting your conversion rate?
The best part of Simply Measured? The custom reporting. You can look at say, your Facebook content analysis, reach by the client, influencer reports, and a ton more.
The only downside is, this tool is not for the solo entrepreneur—it starts at $500 a month, so you’ll need the budget to cover the tool.
One of the biggest players in the brand monitoring game, BuzzSumo is both a research and a monitoring tool.
It’s a pretty comprehensive platform—you can use this tool to find out which content is being shared most often on social media channels.
Here’s an example from the site:
BuzzSumo is useful in that you’ll start to learn what works and what doesn’t—what did you do on blog posts or social captions that took off versus the ones that mostly went ignored?
You can also find relevant keywords right from that platform via Google Keyword Planner, build influencer lists and then reach out to those influencers. Additionally, you can write and promote your content directly from the platform.
BuzzSumo pricing starts at $99 for the small business, while at the other end of the spectrum, enterprise solutions clock in at $499+.
The good news is, if you’re on the fence about splurging on the tool, they offer a 7-day free trial—no credit card required.
Google Alerts is no frills, free and super-easy to use. Even if you’re paying for enterprise-level brand monitoring, Google’s monitoring program makes it really simple to keep tabs on your industry’s goings-on.
All you need to do is type in a keyword of choice. Here, I creatively went with “brand monitoring software”—then filter by region, language, number of results and frequency of alerts.
From there, Google will email, as scheduled, each time something happens. You’ll typically get a few news articles about competitor achievements and news affecting your topics of choice.
While this option is super helpful for keeping you in the loop and inspiring relevant blog topics, you’ll probably see the best results from pairing Alerts with a more robust tool that provides backlink reporting, social listening and more.
There’s no shortage of options out there, and even if you can’t afford to use the likes of Simply Measured at the agency price point, there’s still something for everyone.
Mention, for example, starts at a relatively low price point—and offers up a wealth of insights that you can use to stay on top of bad reviews, competitor mentions and the latest influencer moves.
My recommendation is to pair something like Google Alerts with Monitor Backlinks and a social listening platform if you can swing it.
You’re not spending a ton of money, but you’ll still get a full spectrum snapshot of what’s going on with your brand—as well as the whole wide world out there.